By Ochereome Nnanna
I did not really plan this series to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence. However, I am gratified at the auspicious moment it provides for us to address the issue of “freedom”.
To me, our independence is lost. Nigeria is now one of the most failed countries in the world. After 60 years, Nigeria has become the “poverty capital of the world” under retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s watch as an elected president. About 15 million children are not going to school, and Nigeria is the third “most terrorised country” in the world. There is civil war in Northern Nigeria. Its sons who feel alienated by the Caliphate system have declared war on their own people and the system in cahoots with Nigeria’s foreign enemies.
Armed herdsmen are killing, burning and maiming Nigerians all over the country. They want to conquer new territories for the benefit of their people from all over Africa, and also for their livestock. And this government appears very comfortable with that. Nigeria’s independence is not only lost to misrule, it has also long been hijacked by the Caliphate political establishment through an insidious agenda often described as “Islamisation and Fulanisation”.
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The Nigeria we all fought for its independence has been confiscated by some of us, rendering the rest of us to exploited onlookers. The process was very gradual. Because most of us slept on our rights, these forces are now so entrenched that they no longer pretend. President Buhari has boldly approved a $2bn (over N900bn) fund borrowed from China to link Niger Republic (which is part of the Caliphate) to the Lagos ports without parliamentary appropriation.
When they withdrew the “Star of David” from our national coins while maintaining the Arabic ajami inscriptions on the currency notes, nobody talked. When they used Arabic to write the motto of the Nigerian Army (instead of English, which is our lingua franca), no one talked. Gradually, all the military, paramilitary and security establishments, the federal bureaucracy and the NNPC were hijacked and sectionalised.
Not satisfied, they are now working round-the-clock to impose ruga on all 36 states and grab our surface and underground water bodies to give to whomever they want (and we know who they intend to give them to). Those outside the Caliphate crucible no longer have a sense of Nigeria-belonging. They no longer feel the pride and euphoria of her independence.
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The railway to Maradi project is a profound message. Remember, when Buhari won the 2015 presidential election? It was in Niger Republic that the main celebration took place. President Mamadou Issoufou gave him a white horse and sword, the insignia of a Caliphate conqueror. Niger Republic citizens freely cross the porous borders to attend Buhari’s political rallies in the North, and many of them vote unhindered in our elections. Buhari is building a $2.8bn (N1.9trn) gas pipeline (with borrowed money to be repaid by all Nigerians) from the Niger Delta to the North and eventually through Niger Republic to Morocco.
There are speculations that Buhari, following the footsteps of Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio and Sardauna Ahmadu Bello, is building a greater Arewa land consisting of Northern Nigeria and Niger Republic, which will leverage on Southern resources and ports to aggrandise the Caliphate’s cross-border economy. It is even possible in future to stage a plebiscite to admit Niger into Nigeria just as parts of Northern Cameroun were admitted into Nigeria through the 1962 plebiscite. This will create a permanent Caliphate dominance that will be almost impossible to break through peace or war. This may sound like imagination running riot. But did anyone, just five years ago, imagine a Nigeria-funded railway from Lagos to Maradi? It does not take much for a Nigerien to become a Nigerian.
These monumental developments are pushing me, my future generations, my Igbo people and other non-Caliphate Nigerians to the fringes where a Niger Republic foreigner will increasingly feel more Nigerian than us. So, how can I be talking about “Igbo president” who would, like Aguiyi-Ironsi, be slaughtered like a chicken when he tampers with the well laid-out sectional vision?
They know that a true Igbo person will snatch Nigeria from the Caliphate and put her back on the path to the collective national vision and aspiration which drove our independence struggle over 60 years ago. That’s why they are not “trusted”. They say that an Igbo as president will “restore Biafra”, and our gullible co-travellers swallow this hook, line and sinker. If Biafra will come, no president can stop it.
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There are two options for freedom which I hereby propose, once again. After the total removal of Nigeria from the Caliphate and other forms of sectional control, Nigeria must be restructured into six semiautonomous provinces or regions coterminous with the existing geopolitical zones. These units should be internally self-governing with armed state police, prisons and supreme courts.
They should have constitutional right to demand referendum for independence from Nigeria, just like Northern Ireland and Scotland from Britain. This proviso will impose a sense of propriety and responsibility by leadership to ensure the long-term survival of the union. This union must be a voluntary association, unlike the current gunpoint “unity” we have allowed to be used to shackle us to the political, cultural and economic interests of the Caliphate.
If restructuring fails, then “to your tents O Israel”. They say Igbo will perish inside Biafra. Why not allow them to go and perish? Bring back our Nigeria or let me go. It is a self-evident truth that freedom or self-determination is my inalienable natural right.
Either in Nigeria or outside of it, I must be free!